Saturday, March 03, 2007

There's been some excitement and happiness here this week as we got the word from my elder daughter that my son-in-law has received an invitation to the tenure track position in advanced math that he's been seeking and has deserved for so long. The lucky institution that gets him is Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Fritz and I love the Northwest but it's always been Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula for us as a couple (he's got an extensive teaching history throughout both Washington and Oregon). The prospect of visiting and exploring Salem and Portland together is very pleasant. The move and their getting established in Oregon is good for both of them because my daughter's field is environmental policy and she say
s that the Portland area will be a rich field in which to seek employment. Everybody wins, and finally getting a position in which they can sink some roots means that some long-deferred plans to begin family may suddenly become a much higher priority.

Further good news: Southwest Airlines provides service from Manchester NH (twenty minutes or so from the site of the new house) to Portland with only one stop, generally in Midway Airport, Chicago, with quite reasonable fares.


In a comment on Tornwordo's site, blogger dr demagogue reports:
"You will be pleased to know that there is a corner of the earth, right here in TX, where you can get deep-fried cheese pizza. You can also now get deep-fried beef ribs as a main course and for dessert, deep-fried cheese cake." Coincidentally, Mark of Zeitzeuge speculated on his cholesterol level today. That Texas "cuisine" really knows how to clog an artery. Mark hadn't encountered the fired pizza himself, but confirmed that the deep-fried cheesecake on a stick is a staple of local fairs.


Fritz celebrated the turn of the calendar from February to March by tapping his sugar maples. He said the sap was flowing freely. While not as early as some years (he's tapped as early as Valentine's Day), this is earlier than many years and a great time to get a good yield.
We'll be setting up the wood-fired boiler this weekend, beginning to make a gallon of syrup from each forty gallons of sap that's collected and hauled in five gallon buckets to the evaporator. Our woods will smell of oak and elm smoke perfumed with sweet maple.


Joe Jervis of Joe.My.God brought this next item to my attention, happily as it concerns a fine and popular Democratic U.S. Representative for Massachusetts, Marty Meehan. Marty introduced legislation to the Congress on Wednesday to kill the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy once and for all. The bill bore with it the signatures of 120 co-signers from both parties in the Seante and the House. With that strong a bi-partisan support, there's some real confidence that the bill will pass.

Whether Bozo would do the right and rational thing and sign the bill is anybody's guess. He's bull-headedly insisting on this Surge in Iraq; the Army and Marines desperately need new soldiers if it's to happen. Cynics might say that Bozo will destroy a major institution of anti-gay discrimination not because it's right and just but because he needs the bodies to continue his war. But that's how a lot of advances are made--when doing the right thing accidentally coincides with an official policy, then the right thing gets done. Also, Bush has nothing left to lose in terms of support from the Radical Right; he's a lame and crippled duck and they've written him off as useless to their plans for domination since he's not dancing to their lunatic hard line tune any more.

Here are excerpts from the report on the filing of Meehan's bill:

DADT Repeal Near
Among those on Capitol Hill today lending support to repeal was Staff Sgt. Eric Alva. Alva was the first U.S. Marine seriously wounded in Iraq. He lost a leg when he stepped on a landmine. Today he joined Meehan and other Congress members saying that losing his leg forced him out of the closet.

"It made me realize everything that I had to actually speak up for - basically the rights and privileges of what I as an individual have earned in this country," Alva told ABC News earlier in the day."

"When Eric Alva lost his leg in Iraq, it didn't matter whether he was gay or straight, only that he was a courageous American serving his country," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Eric's voice represents the sacrifice of thousands of gay and lesbian service members fighting for the safety and freedom of all Americans. We believe his story should help move this issue forward and educate Congress as to why it's so important to lift the discriminatory ban that compromises our nation's security."

A Zogby poll taken in October showed three-out-of-four members of the military who are serving in Iraq or recently returned home don't care if someone in their unit is gay. The poll, taken for the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, also found that nearly one in four U.S. troops say they know for sure that someone in their unit is gay or lesbian, and of those 59% said they learned about the person's sexual orientation directly from the individual. Support for repeal has been steadily growing.

In January General John Shalikashvili, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton Administration called for repeal of DADT in an op-ed article in Tuesday's New York Times. Two days later, Clinton's Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, called for an end to the ban.

The article went on to point out that U.S. communications with Iraqi civilians, military, government, the intelligence community and the enemy were severely crippled when the vast majority of Arabic speakers in the Army as translators were thrown out for being gay. Even in the middle of a war of their own making, the homophobes preferred to destroy their ability to operate vital channels of contact than to accept the essential skills possessed by their gay soldiers. Repeal of DADT would put an end to that monumental stupidity once and for all.


*Hangs sign around neck*

"Will Haul Sap For Syrup"
1. You're coming to our house for dinner when you get to Portland
2. We'll get out the tourist maps and handbooks
3. Your daughter (and you, and Fritz) will LOVE IT HERE IN PORTLAND/OREGON
4. I want to bring hubby out for a trip to help tap the sugar maples....we've never done it and need to experience such a great activity.....

Thanks for sharing......I love your stories and the fact that your daughter is going to be here!
SUCH GOOD NEWS! Congratulations! That is wonderful for you and especially your daughter and her husband!

so what would you sell your maple syrup for? i could knit you a scarf? ;o
as always, you are a fountain of information.
I would move to OR or WA in a heart beat if I could!
i remember tapping the sugar maples in boggsvile for Mrs. Eggbert... i always felt kind of bad, like taking the blood from a tree for consumption... sort of like veggie vampires
Great news, Will!

Deep fried cheese pizza?!? Mother of god that's insane. I mean I know you can deep fry anything, but really there's a limit.

With DADT, that's going to be a real milestone in history if it happens. Yeah, I remember when that military poll came out - in one shot it removed any reason to have the ban. It's like banning left-handers... no one cares that they're there.
Your posting brought back memories. I haven't participated in sugaring since my undergraduate days in central Maine. That was in the late '70s. It was always a lot of fun. Have some sugar on snow for me.
Never understood the concept of "tenure track." If someone is not tenure track but shows brilliance in his field, is he forever consigned to teaching night school at Northern Essex Community College?

Also, I'm not thrilled at the prospect of a don't ask/don't tell repeal. The Republicans will sit back and grumble, and then it will become a major issue next election time. There are other gay-related issues more important.
If someone is brilliant but NOT tenure track for whatever reason, (s)he doesent get the discretionary funds for research projects that may involve travel, doesn't get the sabatticals that allow other professional projects or the completion of a book, etc, doesn't get voting power on the important committees that guide a department's curriculum and relationship to the rest of the college/university.

Ther's also a class system of tenured versus non-tenure track that can be very ugly.

Here's my take on the importance of repealing DADT: the veteran has great respect and clout in this country. Let a cadre of out gay and lesbian soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan or elsewhere and they'll be in a far better position to demand full rights and protections under the laws of this country. If openly gay men and women are known to be in the highest ranks of the military as well as in the great mass of soldiers, marines and sailors, it's going to be very hard if not impossible for the homophobes to keep on denigrating American homosexuals and fostering hatred.
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